How To Mount A Home Theater

Projector Screen

This article is part of our home theater design series and we will cover how to mount your front projection screen. If you are thinking about a DIY home theater, mounting the screen and projector may give you some pause, but there is no need to worry. With the right knowledge and some of our tips, you will be able to install your first screen like an expert.

When we begin our discussion on home theaters with most people one of the first questions that comes up is: “How do I mount a projection screen?”

The answer is five simple steps:

  1. Find the right location for the screen
  2. Assemble the screen frame and do a dry run without the screen material
  3. Make any adjustments to get it level and in the exact location
  4. Install the screen material on the frame
  5. Hang the screen back up

In this article we will go over each of these steps in detail for you.

Step 1: Find the Right Location for Your Screen

This can be the most important step, especially if you have more than one row of seats. You want your screen to be at a comfortable height, but if you have more than one row, you have to think about sight lines. 

What are sight lines in a home theater? They are the lines that run from each person's eye position in your theater to the bottom, top, and sides of your screen. Usually, the one you have to worry about is the one that goes to the bottom. 

What affects sight lines in a home theater? There are three main variables, the distance from the screen, the riser height and the riser depth. The seating height of your theater seats has some influence, but we see that most couches, chairs, and home theater seats have a very similar seating height. 

Getting sight lines correct used to be a long exercise in geometry and a fancy drawing program. At Audio Advice, we wanted to make this process simple for anyone. Our free home theater design tool will let you input the data about your distance, riser height, and riser depth, then show you the perfect location for your home theater screen. While you are using the tool, it will also help you find the right-sized screen for your home theater and give you help with speaker locations.

Once you know the distance the bottom of your screen should be off the floor you can go to the next step.

Learn more about the importance of sight lines in home theater design >

Step 2: Assemble the Screen Frame and Do a Dry Run Without the Screen Material

Next, you will want to lay out some large blankets to cover the area where you will assemble the screen frame. Frame assembly will vary by brand, but most of them have 4 pieces that attach together that hold the screen material. Unpack your screen, put the material in a safe place, then assemble the frame.

This is the point where you will need a helper for all of the next steps as most screens are too large for one person to handle safely.  

The first step is to find where the center of the screen needs to be on your wall. Put a piece of painter's tape on the wall and use a level to make a vertical line for your center.  Then put a piece of painter's tape on the frame of your screen at its center and put a mark at the exact center.  You will then line these up to get it perfectly centered.

How the screen will hang on the wall will also vary by brand, but most of them have you mount pieces on the wall first the screen will either hang or mount to. You will need to look at your hanging hardware and figure out how far off the floor it needs to be to have your screen material at the right height that you calculated in step one.

This can typically be done by attaching the mounts to the frame while it is still on the floor. Measure from the holes where the screws will go in the mounts down to the bottom of where the screen material will be. You can then add that number to the height at the bottom of the screen will be off the ground and that will give you the exact height from the floor to your drill holes for the mounts. 

Either use drywall anchors that are rated to support the weight of the screen, or line these mounts up with studs in your wall hang and the hardware on your wall. It’s important to use a laser level or long level to make sure your mounts are perfectly level and even with each other. 

Now hang the frame on the mounts and move to the next step.

Step 3: Make Any Adjustments to Get the Screen Level and in the Exact Location

Measure from the floor to the bottom of the screen to confirm you are at the right height. Put a level on the screen frame to make sure it is perfectly level. Finally, make sure the center of the screen is exactly where you want it.

Some screens have magnets you put on the wall to hold the screen, if this is the case with yours, now is the time to install them after you have confirmed all your measurements.

Step 4: Install the Screen Material on the Frame

Put the screen back on your blankets face down. Carefully unroll the screen material over the screen frame. Most screens have snappers, or some form of insert to get it tensioned very tightly around the frame. Check your manual to see if they suggest starting in the middle or in the corners for the easiest assembly. 

This is the one part where you will need some patience as the snaps or clips can be a little tight to get on since the screen maker wants the material to be very tight fitting. Just go slow in the direction the manual suggests and you will soon be done.

Step 5: Hang the Frame Back on the Wall

Now you should be able to hang the screen back up carefully and it will be in the perfect spot since you took our advice and did a dry run without the material being installed.

Now you can move on to hanging your projector and as you might have guessed, we have an article on how to hang a front projector too!

Audio Advice Pro Tip: Some screens are designed to allow you to mount your speakers behind the screen. There are two types of this kind of screen, a perforated type and a woven type. The woven type is more like a speaker grill cloth and if you have that type, you do not need to do anything else. However, if yours is the perforated type, you can improve your audio performance by offsetting the screen 6-12” off the front of your speakers if you have the space in your room. This is where you will have to get creative with some 2 by 4’s or L brackets. Also, remember to run your screen position math in our tool based on this distance and not the longer distance off the wall without the offset. Another tip is to put acoustically absorbent material around the three speakers to reduce sound bouncing off the screen, hitting the wall, and coming back through.

Congratulations, you are now a screen-mounting ninja and can help out all your home theater friends!

We hope this article and companion video are helpful to your DIY home theater project. If you have questions about the right type of screen for your system, please feel free to reach out to our team. And once you have your screen, if you purchased it from Audio Advice, our tech team will be happy to help you with any questions as you go through the steps.

Home Theater Buying Guide

If you are in the market for a new home theater system or improving part (or all) of the one you already own, you’ve probably figured out that the options can be more confusing than advanced algebra! Explore our guide to understand the available options and how they might work or not work in your particular situation. If you need help customizing a solution for your space, reach out - we're happy to help!

FREE Interactive 3D Home Theater Design Tool

Enter your room dimensions, audio, and video preferences while it designs your theater in real-time. Receive optimal screen size, seating locations, speaker locations, and receive precise measurements for your room layout. Work with our system designers via chat, email, phone, or in-store for expert advice, product selections, and more.

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